COSTA MESA The Planning Commission this week rejected more sober-living homes, continuing a pattern of denying permits to operators in a city grappling with how to balance those looking for drug and alcohol recovery services and the needs of its residents.
In a 5-0 vote Monday, Oct. 9, the Planning Commission denied a conditional-use permit to a SoCal Recovery facility to house up to 32 men at 175 21 St.
In addition to raising concerns about the sober-living home industry itself, several residents objected to allowing that many residents to live at the Eastside property.
“When you put 32 guys together… this is a fraternity house,” said resident Ann Parker, a vocal critic of the sober-living industry and the city’s efforts to regulate them. “I do not believe these operators are monitoring the residents.”
Others said crime rates have increased as a result of the proliferation of the homes.
The commission also unanimously voted to deny appeals for two other SoCal Recovery facilities to house up to six men each at 783 Hudson Ave. and 208 Cecil Place from a city rule that each facility be at least 650 feet from each other.
Applicant Kenny Norwood said a third-party surveyor hired by his company concluded one of his facilities is within the minimum distance requirement when walking.
“It’s not showing all of the sober-living homes in the area,” Commission Chair Stephan Andranian said of the city’s map outlining the sober-living homes near the SoCal Recovery homes. “It’s showing the ones that are licensed and that’s where we take our measurement off of.”
As with the majority of public hearings regarding sober-living and group homes, residents mostly spoke of the unintended consequences of the facilities, most of which are located in residential neighborhoods and can bring an increase in noise, loitering, and homelessness.
All the denials can be appealed to the City Council within seven days.